US action in Libya saved my family's lives. There should be no regret in that.
As a Libyan American who spent the last six months in Benghazi, I am saddened to hear Americans express regret for US intervention in Libya. The US must remember that with international influence comes responsibility – one it bravely upheld in saving the lives of countless civilians.
I am a Libyan American who spent the last six months in Benghazi, Libya, visiting my father’s family. Although I grew up hearing my dad’s stories of Muammar Qaddafi’s brutality, I could not fully comprehend what it would be like to watch friends arrested without a trial or hung publicly in the streets. I couldn’t comprehend how it would feel to discover that siblings or parents had been killed one morning by a Qaddafi-paid assassin. In Libya, the mere mention of his name brings terrorSkip to next paragraph
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Now that I am home, I am saddened to hear many Americans express regret for US involvement in Libya. When we don’t have a personal connection to an issue, it’s easy to get caught up in the political banter and forget that we are talking about real people. Americans must remember the power and responsibility we have in the international community. As a world leader and a country with the military capability to help protect innocent people from a barbaric dictator, the US made a courageous decision to intervene in Libya. This humanitarian act undoubtedly saved the lives of countless civilians.
There should be no regret in that.
In my case, understanding the history of this terrible regime helped me realize the incredible bravery of the Libyan people, and made the beginning of the uprising feel that much more frightening – and exhilarating.
The signs said 'America help us'
Before Western journalists arrived in the country, there was intense sense of foreboding among Libyans that the world would not see their fight or hear their voices. I vividly remember demonstrating outside the courthouse in Benghazi when we received word that the first Western reporters had arrived. The crowd went wild, and it brought me to tears. All the people crowded around the journalists to share their stories of how this ruthless regime had hurt them and their families. They wanted the Western world to witness their plight and help them win their fight for freedom.
Although the arrival of journalists from many countries brought increasing hope, the Libyan people believed that Americans were the most important audience to reach. They had the vision of freedom embodied in our Statue of Liberty in their heads. While I was there, everyone was asking, “Where is Obama? Where is America?” At demonstrations, people begged Americans for help. The signs and posters they waved did not say, “France help us” or “Britain help us,” but “America help us.”
US and coalition involvement nearly arrived too late. Mr. Qaddafi’s forces were knocking on Benghazi’s door with tanks and heavy artillery, and if intervening countries had waited even a day more, my family would probably be dead.